Sean Paul Murphy, Writer

Sean Paul Murphy, Writer
Sean Paul Murphy, Storyteller

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Grave Tales #15: Terri Lea Sain

I am an avid genealogist. The past is very important to me. I spend a lot of time in cemeteries photographing tombstones to upload on the website FindAGrave.

I enjoy recognizing long dead people by putting memorials to them online. However, every once and a while something grabs me about a specific grave. It could be the name, or the dates or a ceramic photo. In those cases, I feel compelled to dig a little deeper. That's what this series of blogs is about: The tales behind those graves. Some of my subjects will be heroes. Some will be villains. Some will be victims. And some will linger in between, like most of us. However, don't be surprised if the tales are inherently tragic. These are grave tales. They all end in death.

I was recently at Gardens of Faith Cemetery marking the locations of the graves of my family members using the GPS function on the Findagrave phone app. Gardens of Faith uses flat markers, and the Murphy family plot became difficult to find after a nearby tree was taken down. While walking away, I noticed the grave of seven-year-old Terri Lea Sain. I immediately checked the Findagrave app. Terri was already listed on the website, but there was no grave photo. I took one and uploaded it. When I got home, I had to find out what took the life of this little girl. The mystery deepened when I saw her death notice and the one listed above it.

The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), 05 July 1966, Tuesday:

Wait a minute. Two Sains? Both of whom died the same day with their funerals being at held at the same funeral parlor and their services at the same church. I instinctively thought that they were sisters, but death notices indicated they had different parents. What was going on? I knew they was a double tragedy but of what sort? I had to investigate further. The story began, as have so many of our summer tragedies, with a weather report.

The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), 04 July 1966, Monday:


MERCURY TOPS 100 AGAIN
-----

     The temperature in the city rose slightly above 100 degrees at 3:35 P.M. yesterday and Baltimoreans at home for the holiday sweltered into the third week of a heat wave.
     At the airport, the mercury hit a record high of 102 degrees, at 3:30 P.M., a full eight degrees above the previous high for the date set two years ago.
     No relief is forecast today by the Weather Bureau as temperatures are again expected to hover about the 100-degree mark.
     One youth drowned yesterday and two others were reported still missing late last night. Attempts to locate the body of a fourth person, missing since 8 P.M. Saturday night, were abandoned by the Coast Guard at 1 P.M. yesterday.
     City streets were virtually empty yesterday as Baltimoreans who were not at the beach apparently took refuge in public or private pools, or air-conditioned taverns.

Person Involved

     The four persons involved are:
     GERRY BOLDEN, 13, of the 1700 block South Charles street, who drowned about 8:45 A.M. yesterday while swimming in the Patapsco River at the foot of Light street near the Hanover street bridge.
     NORMAN BEAVER, 32, of Hyattsville, Md., who fell overboard about 8 P.M. Saturday while boating with some friends at Plum Point near Tilghman Island, about 15 miles south of Annapolis.
     JOANN LOUISE SAIN, 9. daughter of Mrs. and Mrs. Joseph C. Sain of the 4300 block Necker avenue, Perry Hall, Md., disappeared from a family party about 3 P.M. yesterday. Baltimore county police, after searching all nearby houses, roads and woods, presumed that JoAnn and her cousin must have fallen in the Middle River from the pier at her uncle's home in the 200 block Patapsco avenue. Ten skin divers from the county rescue squad searched in vain until 9:30 last night.
     TERRI LEA SAIN, 7, JoAnn's cousin and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Sain of the unit block Ebenezer road in White Hall, Md.
      Bay Bridge traffic was reported as being relatively light compared with Saturday's record total of between 29,000 and 30,000 cars. The previous high was 28,499 cars, the State Roads Commission said.
      An outdoor concert performed by members of the Baltimore Symphony orchestra drew an estimated 8,000 persons to Goucher College last night and caused a traffic back-up for a short time between Dulaney Valley road and Towson.
     Elsewhere in the State, the only tie-ups were the result of concrete buckling due to the heat. The Harbor Tunnel police reported having to repair a slight buckling near the Potee Street entrance to the tunnel.
     In addition, State police said a stretch of concrete extending for several blocks on U.S. 40, between Gold Ring Road and Chesaco avenue, was raised in spots from 6 inches to a foot yesterday afternoon due to the expanding asphalt.
     Several emergency crews from the State Roads Commission were called to repair the damage and traffic was temporarily detoured, they said.
     State police also reported a slight slowing of traffic because of cement buckling in the northbound lane of the Baltimore Beltway, just below the Westland boulevard walkway in Wilkens.
     Hot weather and hotter baseball produced one case of heat prostration and one case of severe heat rash at Memorial Stadium. Local hospitals reported that their emergency rooms were treating many people for heat related illnesses such as headaches, stomach aches, sunburn and exhaustion.
     The Hopkins Hospital said that the traffic in its emergency room has nearly doubled during the past few days, apparently because of the weather, and that the normal daily crush of 150 to 200 persons was now upwards of 300.
     The Bolden youth drowned while attempting to swim from a barge, located about 20 yards off-shore in shallow water, to a sunken ship about a mile away.
      Southern district police said that the youth, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bolden, was apparently caught in the current in the shipping channel and was dragged under
     His body was recovered by police about one hour later and about 200 yards from the spot he went down. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter at South Baltimore General Hospital.

Wow. Another drowning. Little Terri and JoAnn have joined my previous subjects Isadore and Solomon Gold and James Tully as drowning victims. I had no idea drowning was such an ongoing and persistent problem. It makes me shudder at my own carefree summer attitude about water during my youth, whether it be pools or inner tubing down rivers and streams. 

The Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), 05 July 1966, Tuesday:


Pedestrian, 30, Killed By Car; Eight Drown

     A pedestrian was struck by a car and fatally injured yesterday in South Baltimore, raising the holiday death toll in Maryland to eleven, including eight deaths by drowning.
     The pedestrian who was crossing Hawkins Point road near the United States Coast Guard installation on Curtis Bay, was identified by police as James C. Davis, 30, of Marion S.C. He was pronounced dead on arrival at South Baltimore General Hospital at 5:45 P.M.
     According to police, the driver of the car that struck Mr. Davis, James K. Forster, 55, of the 1000 block of Webb court, has been charged with auto manslaughter and reckless driving.
     Two earlier weekend traffic victims brought the year's toll to 352, or 47 more than last year on the date.
     There were:
     BENJAMIN N. GLICKSTEIN, 53, of the 6900 block of Marsue avenue, killed early Sunday in a collision at Broadway and Madison street.
     DANIEL J. BRENNEMAN, 72, of Grantsville, MD., Garrett county, killed in a two-car crash near his home early Saturday.
Cousins Drown

     Drowning victims included two young cousins, Joann Louise Sain, 9, of the 4300 block Necker avenue, Perry Hall, Md., and Terri Lea Sain, 7, of the first block Ebenezer road, White Hall, Md. The girls' bodies were found in Frog Mortar Creek after they had disappeared from a family picnic at Middle River about 3 P.M. Sunday.
      Other drowning victims were:
     BRANTLEY LINDER, 27, of Washington, D.C., who apparently struck his head when he dived from a boat into 4 feet of water yesterday at Long View Beach, St. Mary's county.
      GERRY BOLDEN, 13, of the 1700 block of South Charles street, who drowned yesterday in the Patapsco river.
     NORMAN BEAVER, 32, of Hyattsville, who fell overboard from a boat Saturday at Plum Point, near Tilghman Island.
     LEON RICARDO, 18, of Timonium, whose body was recovered Saturday night in a water-filled quarry at Cockeysville.
     DOROTHY J. MITCHELL, 20, of Annapolis, who drowned about 8 P.M. in Spa creek.
     ALONZO D. GRATTON, 54, of Lusby, Md., who fell overboard while fishing from a boat in the Patuxent river Saturday.

Had just Terri or just JoAnn died that Fourth of July, I'm sure the Sain would have still been forever changed. The fact that the two children died together from the different branches of the family must have compounded the pain. I'm sure the uncle's house on the river, where the tragedy took place, was once a place of joyful family gatherings, much like my aunt and uncle's home on Wilson Point. I bet none of the Sains could ever step inside that house again without thinking of the girls.  

Nothing gives me more joy than seeing my little granddaughters playing in the pool with their cousins. I know I will be thinking about the Sain girls every time I take my little darlings to the pool this summer...

Remember, there is a story behind every grave. You never know what you're missing when you walk past one...

Grave Tales:

My novel Chapel Street is now available! You can buy the Kindle and paperback at Amazon and the Nook, paperback and hardcover at Barnes & NobleChapel Street is the tale of a young man battling a demonic entity that has driven members of his family to suicide for generations. It was inspired by an actual haunting. 

Learn more about the book, click Here.

Watch the book trailer:

  

Listen to me read some chapters here:


Read about the true haunting that inspired the novel here:

The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 1, An Introduction
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 2, The House
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 3, This Is Us
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 4, Arrival
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 5, Methodology
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 6, Clara's Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 7, Clara's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 8, My Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 9, My Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 10, My Tale, Pt. 3
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 11, Natalia's Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 12, Natalia's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 13, John's Tale, Pt. 1 
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 14, John's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 15, Come Inside!
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 16, Marion's Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 17, Marion's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 18, Jeanne's Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 19, Jeanne's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 20, Lisa's Tale
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 21, Recap, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 22, Recap, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 23, Recap, Pt. 3

Let's stay in touch:

Follow me on Twitter: SeanPaulMurphy
Follow me on Facebook: Sean Paul Murphy
Follow me on Instagram: Sean Paul Murphy
Subscribe on YouTube: Sean Paul Murphy

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Yippee-Ki-Yay Mother Podcast #64: Donnie Brasco with former Mafia associate Kenji Gallo

Here's another COVID free ZOOM edition of the Yippee-Ki-Yay Mother Podcast, a lively discussion of the movies that sometimes devolves into a group therapy session.

This week we examine the 1997 Mike Newell film Donnie Brasco, starring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino with special guest Kenji GalloKenji is a former mob associate who wore a wire against the Colombo family in New York for eight years for the FBI. Kenji feels that Donnie Brasco best depicts life in the mafia as he experienced it. Listen to the podcast and hear why.

Be sure to check out Kenji's book about his life in the mob.

 

Here's the trailer for the film:

    

Here's the podcast on YouTube:

           

Our Podcast is now available for download on iTunes: Yippee Ki Yay Mother Podcast
Subscribe to our YouTube page: Yippee Ki Yay Mother Podcast
Check out our webpage: Yippee-Ki-Yay Mother Podcast

Like us on Facebook: Yippee-Ki-Yay Mother Podcast.
Follow us on Twitter: YKYPodcast
Check out Wojo's webpage: Wojo's World
And follow her on Twitter: @TheMicheleWojo

Other Episodes:


My novel Chapel Street is now available! You can currently buy the Kindle and paperback at Amazon and the Nook, paperback and hardcover at Barnes & Noble.


Learn more about the book, click Here.

Watch the book trailer:

  

Listen to me read some chapters here:

Monday, April 12, 2021

Grave Tales #14: Ernest & Dora Blumenfeld

 


I am an avid genealogist. The past is very important to me. I spend a lot of time in cemeteries photographing tombstones to upload on the website FindAGrave.

I enjoy recognizing long dead people by putting memorials to them online. However, every once and a while something grabs me about a specific grave. It could be the name, or the dates or a ceramic photo. In those cases, I feel compelled to dig a little deeper. That's what this series of blogs is about: The tales behind those graves. Some of my subjects will be heroes. Some will be villains. Some will be victims. And some will linger in between, like most of us. However, don't be surprised if the tales are inherently tragic. These are grave tales. They all end in death.

I was recently at Ohr Knesseth Israel Anshe Sfard Cemetery with my lovely wife Deborah marking the locations of the graves of my previous subjects in this series using the GPS function on the Findagrave phone app. (Feel free to visit them and pay your respects!) She called to me when she spotted this ornate monument, saying "Sean, I found a young couple that died on the same day." Even before I saw the grave I knew it would be a grave tale. There's always a tragic story when a young couple dies together. I speculated that they probably died a house fire. Deborah said, "No, it was a car accident." She was correct. Here's the sad fate of Ernest and Dora Blumenfeld

The Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), 21 Nov 1931, Saturday:


3 INJURED, 2 BADLY, IN AUTO, BUS CRASH
-----
Vehicles Collide On Washington Boulevard, Top Of Dead Man's Curve
-----

     Three persons were hurt, two seriously early today when an automobile containing Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Blumenfeld, 1542 North Appleton street, was in collision with a Short Line bus on the Washington Boulevard at the top of Dead Man's Curve between Elkridge and Dorsey. One passenger on the bus, Fred Smith, of New Orleans, was cut on the mouth when he was thrown against a window.
     Blumenfeld, 30 years old, was taken to St. Agnes' Hospital with a fractured skull and internal injuries, while his wife, Dorothy, 24 years old, was sent to the University Hospital with similar injuries. Both were unconscious. A blood-transfusion operation was to be given Mrs. Blumenfeld today in an attempt to save her life.

Bus Driver Arrested

     Martin Luther Bewley, of Embreville, Pa., driver of the bus, was placed under arrest by State Policeman J.H. Doud and taken to the Halethorpe police station for an investigation.
      Bewley told the policeman that he was bound to Washington with three passengers and had just reached the top of Dead Man's Curve when the Baltimore-bound machine suddenly swerved in front of him. Bewley said it was his opinion that the driver suddenly fell asleep at the wheel of the car, causing him to lose control of the car, which crossed the painted white line in the center of the road.
     Following the crash, Bewley told the policeman, the other machine was pushed down the steep hill for some distance before he could bring his heavy vehicle to a full stop.
     With two unidentified sailors and Smith, the bus driver said he extricated the injured couple from the wrecked car and stopped passing motorists to take them to a hospital. Dr. Hubert Gurley, 5142 Park Heights avenue, happened along a few minutes later and gave first aid. Smith stayed on the bus and later went to a Washington hospital for treatment.
     Blumenfeld, a salesman, went to Washington yesterday on business and took his wife along for the ride, according to relatives, but left his two daughters Rene, 5 years old, and Beatrice, 8, at home in care of a maid.
Another Patient Arrives

     Soon after Blumenfeld had been admitted as a patient at St. Agnes' Hospital a motorist brought Leon Rice, of 1236 Eleventh street, Washington, to the hospital. The motorist said Rice had been injured in an accident on the Washington Boulevard.
     Police were trying to determine whether Rice was in the same accident. Blumenfeld's relatives said they did not know Rice, but that it was possible he was accompanying Blumenfeld home. The bus driver said he found only two passengers in the Blumenfeld machine.

Wow. That was an ugly crash. Obviously, although I knew the couple would soon die, they were still alive at the end of the story. I had to continue researching, if only to find out if the bus driver was indeed culpable for the accident.

The Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), 23 Nov 1931,  Monday:


Funeral of Motor Crash Victims Held
-----
Mr. And Mrs. Ernest Blumenfeld Were Injured Fatally In Bus Accident
-----

     Funeral services for Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Blumenfeld, who were injured fatally in an automobile crash Saturday, were conducted today at their home, 1542 North Appleton street, by Rabbi Moses L. Rabinowitz. Burial followed in the Hebrew Mount Carmel Cemetery, on the Philadelphia road.
     Mr. Blumenfeld died last night at St. Agnes' Hospital, and his wife, Mrs. Dora Blumenfeld, died at the University Hospital, where she had been since the crash. The couple are survived by two daughters, 7 and 9 years old.
     The couple were injured when their automobile collided with a bus near Elkridge.
     Martin Luther Bewley, driver of the bus, has been released in $2,000 bail for a hearing on December 7 before Magistrate Frederick Gill. The hearing will be held in Elkridge.

Of course, then as today, an accident that serious resulted in a lawsuit on behalf of the children.

The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland),  04 Dec 1931 Friday: 


VICTIM OF CRASH AWARDED $12,500
-----
Miss Lillian E. Klingstine Injured In Automobile Accident in 1930
-----
LAID UP FOUR MONTHS
-----
Two Suits Ask $85,000 Damages For Death Of Couple, Killed When Bus And Car Collided
-----

     A verdict in favor of Miss Lillian E. Klingstine for $12,500 damages against Mose Edlavitch was returned by a jury in the City Court yesterday before Judge Eli Frank.
     Miss Klingstine was injured seriously July 23, 1930, while riding in Mr. Edlavitch's automobile on the Old Annapolis road near Linthicum Heights. The car ran off the roadway and overturned. Mr. Edlavitch lives at 2313 Wichita avenue.
     As a result of her injuries, Miss Klingstine, who lives at 3434 Virginia avenue, was incapacitated four months. She underwent a series of operations and treatments for her arm.
     Roland K. Adams and Herbert R. O'Conor were counsel for Miss Klingstine.

$85,000 Damages Asked

     Two suits, claiming a total of $85,000 damages for the death of Ernest I. Blumenfeld and Dorothy Blumenfeld, his wife, who were killed as the result of an automobile accident on the Washington Boulevard November 21, were filed in the Superior Court.
     The suits were instituted against the Great Eastern Stages, Inc., on behalf of Beatrice Blumenfeld, 7, and Rena Blumenfeld, 5, daughters of the couple, and Hyman Blumenfeld, administrator of their estate. Isaac Lobe Straus and Harry Coller, attorneys, filed the suits, which charged the bus company with negligence. The accident occurred when a bus collided with the Blumenfeld machine at the top of Dead Man's Curve between Elkridge and Dorsey.

The news in the following story didn't bode well for the Blumenfeld lawsuit.

The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), 08 Dec 1931, Tuesday.

Hit By Auto As She Steps From Behind Trolley Car
-----
Mrs. Stella Salrokor Taken To Hospital With Possible Fracture of Right Leg

     Struck by an automobile as she stepped from behind a trolley car, according to the police, Mrs. Stella Salrokor, 2223 Harlem avenue, was taken to Franklin Square Hospital last night with lacerations and a possible fracture of the right leg.
     The accident occurred on Fayette street, near Carrollton avenue, at 7 P.M. John L. Lamkin, of Catonsville, driver of the automobile, was summoned on a charge of reckless driving.
     Martin Luther Beuley, of Embreeville, Pa., bus driver whose vehicle crashing into an automobile on the Washington Boulevard November 21, killing Mr. and Mrs. Ernest L. Blumenfeld, of Baltimore, passengers in the car, was exonerated yesterday by Coroner Frederick Gill, of Elkridge.

I could not find the results of the lawsuit, but on 15 April 1938, Beatrice and Rena received money in their guardianship accounts.  They also received additional money in 1941.

In April 1942, I believe Beatrice married Cecil Levinson. Here's the photo.

She looked happy. I'm glad. In these blogs, I have often considered the loss felt by parents when a child dies. This time I was forced to consider the trauma these two girls must must have felt when they lost  both of their parents. It must have been devastating. Somehow, I hope both of them managed to have long and happy lives.

Remember, there is a story behind every grave. You never know what you're missing when you walk past one...

Grave Tales:

My novel Chapel Street is now available! You can buy the Kindle and paperback at Amazon and the Nook, paperback and hardcover at Barnes & NobleChapel Street is the tale of a young man battling a demonic entity that has driven members of his family to suicide for generations. It was inspired by an actual haunting. 

Learn more about the book, click Here.

Watch the book trailer:

  

Listen to me read some chapters here:


Read about the true haunting that inspired the novel here:

The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 1, An Introduction
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 2, The House
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 3, This Is Us
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 4, Arrival
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 5, Methodology
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 6, Clara's Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 7, Clara's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 8, My Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 9, My Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 10, My Tale, Pt. 3
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 11, Natalia's Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 12, Natalia's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 13, John's Tale, Pt. 1 
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 14, John's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 15, Come Inside!
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 16, Marion's Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 17, Marion's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 18, Jeanne's Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 19, Jeanne's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 20, Lisa's Tale
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 21, Recap, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 22, Recap, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 23, Recap, Pt. 3

Let's stay in touch:

Follow me on Twitter: SeanPaulMurphy
Follow me on Facebook: Sean Paul Murphy
Follow me on Instagram: Sean Paul Murphy
Subscribe on YouTube: Sean Paul Murphy

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Yippee-Ki-Yay Mother Podcast #63: The Shawshank Redemption

Here's another COVID free ZOOM edition of the Yippee-Ki-Yay Mother Podcast, a lively discussion of the movies that sometimes devolves into a group therapy session.

This week Wojo brings The Shawshank Redemption to the table. Amazingly this film, based on a novella by Stephen King and starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, was a box office disappointment, but it gained the status of a classic over time. It is the highest ranked film on the Internet Movie Database, and that's really saying something. 

Here's the trailer for the film:

 

Here's the podcast on YouTube:

         

Our Podcast is now available for download on iTunes: Yippee Ki Yay Mother Podcast
Subscribe to our YouTube page: Yippee Ki Yay Mother Podcast
Check out our webpage: Yippee-Ki-Yay Mother Podcast

Like us on Facebook: Yippee-Ki-Yay Mother Podcast.
Follow us on Twitter: YKYPodcast
Check out Wojo's webpage: Wojo's World
And follow her on Twitter: @TheMicheleWojo

Other Episodes:


My novel Chapel Street is now available! You can currently buy the Kindle and paperback at Amazon and the Nook, paperback and hardcover at Barnes & Noble.


Learn more about the book, click Here.

Watch the book trailer:

  

Listen to me read some chapters here:

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Grave Tales #13: Suvilla Elizabeth Braverman

I am an avid genealogist. The past is very important to me. I spend a lot of time in cemeteries photographing tombstones to upload on the website FindAGrave.

I enjoy recognizing long dead people by putting memorials to them online. However, every once and a while something grabs me about a specific grave. It could be the name, or the dates or a ceramic photo. In those cases, I feel compelled to dig a little deeper. That's what this series of blogs is about: The tales behind those graves. Some of my subjects will be heroes. Some will be villains. Some will be victims. And some will linger in between, like most of us. However, don't be surprised if the tales are inherently tragic. These are grave tales. They all end in death.

One of the unexpected byproducts of the COVID 19 Pandemic was ZOOM church. This was an innovation my wife Deborah and I couldn't enjoy from our home because of ongoing remodeling. We had to find a nice quiet place to attend church via cellphone. The place we chose was Saint Stanislaus Cemetery in Dundalk. Trust me, sermons resonate more deeply when heard in a cemetery, especially ones from the Book of Ecclesiastes about the vanity of life. It turned out to be a fortuitous location, because that's where I found Suvilla Elizabeth Braverman.

When I walk by a grave, I hope to find something that allows me to connect with the deceased. That can be very difficult when most of the time you only get a name and the dates of birth and death. I don't know whether this tombstone was designed by the deceased herself or her family, but it made it very easy for me to feel a connection to her.  Here's what it said on the front, under a smiling picture:

SURVILLA ELIZABETH
BRAVERMAN
nee FORD
ARTIST, MUSICIAN, POET,
MOM
MAY 15, 1943
JUNE 15, 2015
"A Faithful Witness"

Wow. That really gave me a sense of who she was and what was important to her. The rear of the monument was the icing on the cake: One of her poems:

Amazing Baltimore

Once again the city's crowned with glory;
Through silv'ry-pewter billowing of white
An oval slit of sunshine breaks before me
Returning rainsoaked pavement's paths of light

How does the sun and shadow find your center
To pour its silver rays upon your crest?
How do my feet know just the time enter
To find with what bright riches I am blessed?

And what to say of paradox endings
As daylight fades and evening has begun
With darkness overtakes the shadowed blendings
To hide a rising city's setting sun?

A zillion creatures close their eyes in dreaming
A zillion more awaken, night lights streaming

-Suvilla Braverman

Wow. What a wonderful poem about my beloved hometown. I was anxious to get home and research her further. I was hoping to find more poems, but I was disappointed. I found nothing meaningful about her when I googled her. But what more did I need? I think the monument did an excellent job of capturing her spirit.

This is a perfect tombstone.


Remember, there is a story behind every grave. You never know what you're missing when you walk past one....

My novel Chapel Street is now available! You can buy the Kindle and paperback at Amazon and the Nook, paperback and hardcover at Barnes & NobleChapel Street is the tale of a young man battling a demonic entity that has driven members of his family to suicide for generations. It was inspired by an actual haunting. 


Learn more about the book, click Here.

Watch the book trailer:

  

Listen to me read some chapters here:


Read about the true haunting that inspired the novel here:

The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 1, An Introduction
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 2, The House
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 3, This Is Us
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 4, Arrival
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 5, Methodology
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 6, Clara's Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 7, Clara's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 8, My Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 9, My Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 10, My Tale, Pt. 3
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 11, Natalia's Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 12, Natalia's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 13, John's Tale, Pt. 1 
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 14, John's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 15, Come Inside!
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 16, Marion's Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 17, Marion's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 18, Jeanne's Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 19, Jeanne's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 20, Lisa's Tale
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 21, Recap, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 22, Recap, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 23, Recap, Pt. 3

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Saturday, April 3, 2021

Signed Sealed Delivered Interview -- Chapel Street


Jamie Hope just interviewed me on her YouTube videocast Signed Sealed Delivered. I had previously given Jamie a two part interview about the haunting of my family home, 21 St. Helens Avenue, which inspired my novel Chapel Street. Now she's brought me back to discuss the novel itself, and how fact informed the fiction.

It was an illuminating talk. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did.

 

Learn more about Jamie here.

Here's our talks about the haunting:

Signed Sealed Delivered - A Nightmare on 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 1
Signed Sealed Delivered - A Nightmare on 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 2

Be sure to check out my novel Chapel Street. It tells the story of a young man straddling the line between sanity and madness while battling a demonic entity that has driven his family members to suicide for generations. It was inspired by an actual haunting my family experienced.

You can buy the Kindle and paperback at Amazon and the Nook, paperback and hardcover at Barnes & Noble.


Learn more about the book, click Here.

Watch the book trailer:

  

Listen to me read some chapters here:


Read about the true haunting that inspired the novel here:

The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 1, An Introduction
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 2, The House
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 3, This Is Us
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 4, Arrival
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 5, Methodology
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 6, Clara's Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 7, Clara's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 8, My Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 9, My Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 10, My Tale, Pt. 3
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 11, Natalia's Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 12, Natalia's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 13, John's Tale, Pt. 1 
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 14, John's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 15, Come Inside!
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 16, Marion's Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 17, Marion's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 18, Jeanne's Tale, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 19, Jeanne's Tale, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 20, Lisa's Tale
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 21, Recap, Pt. 1
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 22, Recap, Pt. 2
The Haunting of 21 St. Helens Avenue, Part 23, Recap, Pt. 3

Follow me on Twitter: SeanPaulMurphy
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